PittsburghMom

PittsburghMom is our original, featured blog by Heather Starr Fiedler.  Heather created PittsburghMom in March 2008 and began this journey.  Heather is the mom to two young boys, Matthew (9) and Benjamin (7), a college professor and General Manager of PittsburghMom. She's busy, but not too busy to blog about her sometimes serious, sometimes painful and often humorous thoughts on life and share her favorite Pittsburgh spots for families.

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Multitasking mama

Written by Heather Starr Fiedler. Posted in PittsburghMom

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There are not enough hours in the day. Or days in the week.

As like most moms, I take on too much and often feel like I'm shortchanging something in favor of something else. People often ask me how I "do it all" and I answer with "not well".  

It's my goal to find things that can "kill two birds with one stone" and I recently rediscovered a favorite spot of mine that thought I'd share.

My husband and I are runners and just signed up for a fall half marathon. Now it's a struggle to find time to train without taking time away from each other and the kids.

Enter Riverside Park in Oakmont. This park is the most brilliantly designed park I've ever seen. There is a fenced in playground as well as tennis courts INSIDE a running track.  So we can let the kids play while we get our run in. And my children like tennis as well, so they can even play tennis while we run.  There's a beautiful view of the river (again, the playground is fenced in, so there's less chance of them wandering off to see the river) along with picnic pavilions if you want to bring lunch.

I think we'll be spending a lot of time there this fall.

Now I"m in search of other great multitasking places where the kids can have fun where I can cross things off my list as well (like my undying love for the Eagles Nest. I let the kids play while I get the shopping done as well as do my grading over a cup of coffee in the cafe)

What places have you discovered to multitask?

 

 

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The great sharing debate

Written by Heather Starr Fiedler. Posted in PittsburghMom

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I read an article recently that has been gaining some attention on the social media circuits. The article was titled "This Mom Perfectly Explains Why She Does Not Teach Her Kids To Share".

I read it with great interest. I typically tend to like articles/blogs that go against the "crowd mentality" and think outside the box.  On the surface it made sense. But rather than share it with you all and comment on it right away, I let it sit for a while and the more I thought about it, the more I disagreed with the author.

The main premise of the blog is that we shouldn't teach our kids to share because that's not 'real life'.  In real life people don't just "give us a turn" with something because we want it.  This is very true, which is what made me initially agree with the author.

But her examples rubbed me the wrong way, and I ended up completely disagreeing with her approach and premise.

In one example, her son was playing at a rec center with a certain car and did not want to share it. She did not make her son share the car.  Here's an excerpt from that example:

There's this one red car in particular my son really likes playing with, and the last time we went, he drove it around the entire hour and a half we were there. While most of the moms with smaller kids will shadow their kids as they play, my son is old enough now that I can sit on the sidelines and watch. From there I watched a mom whose son wanted to drive the car approach my son repeatedly, saying, "OK, now it's time for you to give him a turn!" Of course he ignored her, and eventually she gave up. 

I think it does a child a great disservice to teach him that he can have something that someone else has, simply because he wants it. And I can understand the desire to give your children everything they want; we all have it. But it's a good lesson for you both to learn that this isn't always possible, and you shouldn't step all over other people to get these things.

Here's my thought though. Why NOT share the car? Why not teach our children empathy and compassion. That it's not that hard to sometimes be less selfish in order to make other people happy, and that there's great personal growth, reward and satisfaction in thinking about others?

I would rather my child learn to be kind and giving rather than teaching them it's ok to be selfish because that sets them up for the harsh reality of a selfish life.

So I will continue to teach my children to share. I'm not worried as much about them learning unrealistic expectations of life as I am about them growing up without empathy.

What's your take on teaching sharing?

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No more mama makes this mom sad

Written by Heather Starr Fiedler. Posted in PittsburghMom

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For as long as I can remember, my husband and I have been "Mama" and "Dada" to our kids. They never really used the phrase Mommy and Daddy.  I never thought too much about it, it just was a part of our daily life.

Until now.

My kids recently spent a week at my parents' house and when they returned, they were both suddenly calling me "Mom".  

It sounds pitiful to say that it's making me very sad, but I'll go ahead and say it. 

It's making me very sad.

My babies are growing up. I'm no longer "Mama".  I'm just "Mom".  They sound 10 years older all of a sudden.

I think part of the reason I'm inexplicably sad over this seemingly silly thing is because it was so sudden.  No warning, no 'half and half'. Just Mom. All day long.

Most other signs of growing up are things we can anticipate and ease into.  Walking, potty training, starting kindergarten. We know it's coming. We have time to prepare.

This just came out of nowhere.

But in the grand scheme of life it's truly a little thing and as long as I'm still "Mom" all is right in the world.

But this mama still misses her babies.

 

 

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Leaving on a jet plane...without my family

Written by Heather Starr Fiedler. Posted in PittsburghMom

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By the time you read this I'll be nearly 5,000 miles away.  I'm heading out of town for ten days without my family.

About a year and a half ago my sister-in-law asked me if I would be interested in heading to Europe with my niece, who wanted to go on student trip abroad. But she wanted her to have an adult with her that she knew, so that's where I entered the picture.

We signed up and eighteen months later the time has come!

I'm excited but also sad to be going all the way to Italy and France without my family. The guilt is huge, of course. 

While I'm gone the kids will be spending half the time here at home with my husband (camp during the day while he works) and the other half of the time in New York with my parents.  The past two summers have included trips without the kids (two years ago we went to Mexico for our 10th anniversary and last year we went to Macedonia and Turkey for a work trip), and during those times they've gone to visit grandma and grandpa.

The kids are super excited to be spending a week in the country. They plan to fish, relax and take some day trips to local attractions/amusement parks.  My parents are excited, too.

While it's hard for me to let go and leave them in someone else's hands for over a week, I know it's great for them to have this special time with my family.

I think even if we don't have any trips planned, we'd like to continue the 'week in the summer at grandma and grandpas house'.  

Do any of your kids go away for a week in the summer without you?

 

 

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The Perfect Family

Written by Heather Starr Fiedler. Posted in PittsburghMom

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This is my perfect family. It's not the family I thought I'd end up with, but it's my perfect world now. 

Indulge me while I wax poetic for a bit.

I was having coffee with a local mom, professor, entrepreneur last week and she said something that really stuck with me.

We were talking about how many kids we had, whether they were boys or girls, how far apart they are, etc. and she was relating a conversation that she had with her husband.

They were talking about how many children they should ideally have.

She said "what do you think is the perfect family" and he replied
"The perfect family is the family you have."

Let that sink in.

The perfect family is the family you have.


That has really stuck with me because I could not agree more. I think society sets up this idea of the "perfect" family and expects us to fulfill some preconceived checklist of what we need to have to be happy.

I'm sure you all know what I mean.

I have two boys.  If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me when we were going to try for a girl I could retire tomorrow.

One of my best friends has an only child and she's often told she's not being fair to him by not giving him siblings.

Another friend has eight children and gets questioned about it all the time.

We hear "you should have your children young so you can still enjoy life when they go to college"  or "you should have them late so you can enjoy your 20s without any kids at all."

Let's stop forcing the "perfect" family on people and also feeling pressured to have the "right" amount of kids of the "right" gender at the "right" time. Two boys, three girls, two moms, two dads, adopted, fostered, twins...it doesn't matter. It's all perfect if it's yours. 

The perfect family is the family you have.  Amen.

 

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